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Karajic: Retrial Due to Begin on May 10

26. April 2011.00:00
The retrial of Suljo Karajic, who is charged with crimes committed in Bihac, is due to begin on May 10 before the Appellate Chamber of the Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

This post is also available in: Bosnian

At a status conference the Prosecution of Bosnia and Herzegovina and Defence of Karajic, who was sentenced under a first instance verdict to 18 years in prison for crimes committed in Bihac, presented their plans for the presentation of evidence during the course of the retrial.

“The minimal condition with which the Defence will agree is to have some pieces of evidence presented again and the other ones just heard at the retrial, as well as to admit some as if they had been presented,” said Hasan Veladzic, Defence attorney of the indictee.

In its written motion filed with the Court, the Prosecution said that it did not want to present new pieces of evidence or have the audio recordings made during the course of the first instance trial heard again. It further said that it abode by the pieces of evidence which had already been presented. Prosecutor Vesna Ilic confirmed this at the hearing on Tuesday.

On April 13, 2010, the Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina found Suljo Karajic, known as Hodza, guilty of war crimes against civilians committed in the Bihac area. Karajic is the former Commander of the Second Military Police Squad with the Fifth Corps of the Army of Bosnia and Herzegovina, ABiH.

The first instance verdict says that from August 1994 to February 1995, Karajic committed, assisted in, and ordered his subordinates, military policemen, to commit murders, and cause physical and mental suffering, inhumane treatment and injuries to civilians and prisoners of war, members of the National Defence of the Western Bosnia Autonomous Region, ND WBAR.

The Defence asked for a new examination of some witnesses, because, it said, the verdict was based on their statements, and also because some of the statements contained “contradictory” elements. The Prosecution objected to this proposal.

“The Defence wants to examine some witnesses again, but I do not see any benefits of their re-examination, because the Defence had a chance to examine and cross-examine the witnesses. Also, I do not see any benefits of re-examination of the witnesses, whose statements were, as they said, contradictory,” State Prosecutor Ilic said.

The Defence expressed its opinion on Tuesday about the Trial Chamber’s proposal to dismiss the additional defence attorney in this case. The Defence attorneys and the indictee asked the Court to allow them to continue to have the additional attorney at the retrial, saying that the request was based on “the complexity” of the case.

“Honourable Court, I do not want to give up any of the defence attorneys, because they have performed the work of three attorneys up to now. In short, I want both of them to stay,” indictee Karajic said.

Following a break during which the Appellate Chamber considered the proposal made by the Defence and Prosecution, the Chamber announced that witnesses would not be directly examined at the retrial and the Defence’s right to an additional attorney was revoked.

“In regard to the direct examination of witnesses, the Court decided not to accept the proposal, but it will agree to having the recordings made at the first instance trial reproduced in the courtroom. (…) The Court decided that Hasan Veladzic would be the only Defence attorney at the rest of the trial, while the additional attorney is dismissed of his duties,” said Appellate Chamber Chairman Vukomir Dragoje.

The Defence does not have the right to appeal the Court’s decision about the dismissal of the additional Defence attorney.


This post is also available in: Bosnian